For the first time in many years, a ‘Plus’ variant of the Galaxy S series is not Samsung’s most powerful Android phone. An ‘Ultra’ variant now accompanies the Galaxy S20 Plus alongside the cheaper Galaxy S20.
The Galaxy S20 can save you some money, and the S20 Ultra is extremely big, expensive, and powerful. But the Galaxy S20 Plus is probably the smartphone most people should consider if affordability is not an issue. Apart from the price, the significant differences between the three variants are the battery size, screen size, build, dimensions, and camera.
When I first looked at the spec sheet and the list of features on the S20 Plus, it was impossible to find a flaw in the package. So I decided to put all its aspects to test on my five day trip to a remote village in the hills. It went through a 12-hour bus ride followed by rains and much more. The most exciting part was testing the cameras, which I was expecting to impress in daylight, but the new zoom abilities and Samsung’s underwhelming night mode had my doubts.
Is the Galaxy S20 Plus a considerable upgrade over the S10 Plus? Do you get a well-packaged reliable allrounder for Rs 70K?
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra release date and price
- Now available for purchase in India
- Only one variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage is available
- Available in grey, blue and black colors
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is available now in India at Rs 77,900. Unlike the US and the UK, there’s only one variant available in the country.
It is the 4G variant that has 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. I reviewed the 4G version of the phone, and this review will mostly focus on that device as it’s the only available handset.
You can buy it from Samsung online/offline stores and hundreds of other partner stores.
- Neither too small nor too bulky
- New rectangular camera, but the design looks dated
- Bixby button is gone, so is 3.5mm headphone jack
The Galaxy S20 Plus only brings some subtle changes in terms of look and feel. It sports a single punch hole on the front, the curved edges are gone, and a new rectangular camera block finds a place on the top left corner. While moving to a single punch-hole is a great idea, ditching the curved sides do not come with proper reasoning.
The back is rather bland until you notice the new camera setup. It did not look odd to me even when I looked at the phone for the first time. The reason being the leaks, and also the Note 10 Lite, which has a similar but much smaller rectangular block on the top left. Does it look bad? Not at all; It is a more refined and less obtrusive design, but it doesn’t look very attractive either. Especially, if you compare it with the intimidating camera module on the S20 Ultra.
The rest of the back is plain and subtle, the grey variant I am using doesn’t reflect any gradient finish. It sure looks sleek and premium when taken out of the case but I wouldn’t recommend that as it’s mostly glass and very slippery. I took mine out to shoot a video where it slipped right on to the marble floor but luckily did not crack.
The design has become very minimal, there’s no Bixby button, no 3.5mm jack and the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor never made it after Galaxy S9 Plus. If compared to the soda can opener design on the S9, the camera module has improved by a considerable margin in two years.
The S20 Plus continues to look expensive in that well-packed glass and metal body. It’s sleek, great for one-handed usage, offers a nice grip in both orientations. But does it stand out? Hard to say.
- 6.7-inch AMOLED display, WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) resolution
- 120Hz refresh rate, but only at FHD+ resolution or lower
- In-screen fingerprint sensor is disappointing
As I mentioned, it’s appreciable that Samsung found a way to make a smaller punch hole on all its phones. It makes the front of the phone look much cleaner and less obstructive.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus’ 6.7-inch AMOLED display is sharp and vibrant, with WQHD+ resolution (3200 x 1440). It is slightly taller than the S10 Plus because of thinner bezels on top and bottom. It’s hard to find any major difference as both the screens are top-notch, but not after I noticed the refresh rate.
The S20 Plus and all its siblings offer up to 120Hz screen refresh rate, which is slowly becoming a norm on all flagship phones. The highlight here is that Samsung becomes the first one to bring a 120Hz refresh rate to a non-gaming smartphone. OnePlus got into the game earlier, but Asus ROG Phone 2 took it to the highest available on any phone right now, followed by Samsung.
What does the user get with a high refresh rate? The first use is that it enables smoother visuals for games that support 120Hz, and even those with support for up to 60Hz or 90Hz. Apart from that, I noticed silky smooth animations, fluidity in navigation between apps, and scrolling feels more satisfying.
Note that you can’t max out the refresh rate and display resolution at the same time. Meaning, you can either opt for 1440p resolution with 60Hz or else 1080p if you need a 120Hz refresh rate. It will require manual tinkering every time you need to switch between the combos.
That said, watching movies and playing games on the S20 Plus is a treat because of its sharp and vibrant display with minimal obstruction. This is one situation where you would agree that it’s better to have a flat-screen instead of a curved one.
If there’s one thing that goes completely wrong this time, it is the in-display fingerprint sensor. It’s not just slow on most occasions, but it also struggles to verify the print quite often.